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Audiophile Equipment Review Magazine High-End Audio
  High-End Audio And Audiophile Review Magazine.
  Gear Reviews, Show Reports, Articles And More!

  Celebrating 25 Years Of Service To Music Lovers 

High-End Audio / Audiophile Equipment Reviews And Think Pieces
February 2020

 

Florida Audio Expo 2020 Show Report

Florida Audio Expo 2020 Show Report
Florida Audio Expo 2020 Show In Tampa, Florida.
The Florida Audio Expo was at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore from February 7th through 9th. Free admission granted access to 66 exhibitors up from last year's total of 41. Many of these exhibitors unveiled new products, giving attendees the opportunity of being among the first to experience some of the best high-performance audio equipment electronics, loudspeakers, turntables, headphones, and more from all over the world.
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Win Bottlehead Crack 1.1 OTL Headphone Amplifier Kit Win an OTL vacuum tube headamp valued at 315!

Win Bottlehead Crack 1.1 OTL Headphone Amp Kit
Win an OTL vacuum tube headamp valued at $315!
Bottlehead and Enjoy the Music.com are giving away their easy-to-build Crack 1.1 OTL vacuum tube headphone amplifier kit ($315 on up depending on options). For decades, Bottlehead has been providing wonderful DIY kits, usually based around vacuum tubes (hence company's name Bottlehead), and with kit naming being a bit, ummm, edgy. From Wikipedia: "Crack affects the brain chemistry of the user causing euphoria, supreme confidence, alertness, increased energy and a craving for more crack."
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Is Being An Immersivephile The Next Evolution In Musical Bliss?

Is Being An ImmersivephileTM The Next Evolution In Musical Bliss?
We live in a world that bathes us in sound from all directions.
Thought For Food (Strike That, Reverse It) By Steven R. Rochlin
Wikipedia says that "Modern stereophonic technology was invented in the 1930s by British engineer Alan Blumlein at EMI, who patented stereo records, stereo films, and also surround sound." Many of us agree going from single channel mono to stereo brought forth many aural / spatial benefits. Two ears, two speakers; seems very simple on the surface doesn't it? It also meant there was a bit more effort involved by the home listener going from mono to stereo in achieving the very best from this new 1930's audio playback format. Naturally the music loving press followed along.
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Cirque pour les Oreilles Roger Skoff writes about technology and enjoyment.

Cirque pour les Oreilles
Roger Skoff writes about technology and enjoyment.
Article By Roger Skoff
Have you ever seen the Cirque du Soleil? Whether you see it live or in one of its many televised performances, it's a wonder and a glory... and an incredible feat of work. Trained circus performers already athletes of the highest skill and at the peak of physical fitness work for months with coaches, choreographers, musicians, and costume and scenic designers to produce a show that's truly remarkable; in many ways, genuinely awesome; and always entertaining.
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Why I Love Our Loyal Readership First and foremost, this entire site is for you! Let's work together.... Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin

Why I Love Our Loyal Readership
First and foremost, this entire site is for you! Let's work together....
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin
In  a few months Enjoy the Music.com will officially be celebrating our 25th Anniversary. For those who've read the About Us info, you'll notice below all the site facts n' stuff that not a single word has changed for decades. And so it began 25 years ago...
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Enjoy The Music! Roger Skoff writes about the thing we love.

Enjoy The Music!
Roger Skoff writes about the thing we love.
Article By Roger Skoff
Ever since the Paleolithic era, when "hard rock" was a literal description, and humanity's catchiest tunes were played by rhythmically banging stones together, people have loved music. We've probably played it, sung it, chanted it, danced to it, and loved it for as long as we've had language and maybe even longer, if animal behavior is any indication of the behavior of our far-most-distant ancestors.
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Meet the Maker: Audio Research Corporation Celebrates 50 Years Of Innovation And Share Interesting Insights With NOVO Magazine

Meet The Maker: Audio Research Corporation Celebrates 50 Years Of Innovation And Share Interesting Insights With NOVO
An Interview with Jeff Poggi, CEO/President of Audio Research, and Warren Gehl, Design Engineer and Aural Evaluator
Interview By Suave Kajko of NOVO Magazine

Audio Research's musical story began in 1970 when the company was founded by William Zane (Bill) Johnson, former owner of Electronic Industries, a specialty audio store in Minneapolis. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Audio Research developed iconic tube-based preamplifier and amplifier designs that captivated the hearts and minds of music lovers and biggest audio critics of the time.
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We Ask 10 Questions For High-End Audio Manufacturers Featuring Peter Qvortrup Of Audio Note UK

10 Questions For High-End Audio Manufacturers
Featuring Peter Qvortrup Of Audio Note UK

Enjoy the Music.com's 25th Anniversary special feature!
During Enjoy the Music.com's very special 25th Anniversary we're asking various high-end audio manufacturers to answer the same ten questions. Their answers may surprise you! This month we're featuring Peter Qvortrup of Audio Note UK. Audio Note UK manufacturers some of the finest domestic audio reproduction equipment money can buy, using the best available technology and the finest components.
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10 Questions For High-End Audio Manufacturers Featuring Marco Manunta Of M2Tech

10 Questions For High-End Audio Manufacturers
Featuring Marco Manunta Of M2Tech
Enjoy the Music.com's 25th Anniversary special feature!
During Enjoy the Music.com's very special 25th Anniversary we're asking various high-end audio manufacturers to answer the same ten questions. Their answers may surprise you! This month we're featuring Marco Manunta. M2Tech is an award winning consumer electronics manufacturer enabling computer audio playback, DAC / ADC, Class A headamps, phono stages, pre / power amplifiers, and USB to S/PDIF signal converters.
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Interview With Da-Hong Seetoo Grammy award-winning classical music producer and engineer. Article By Robert Moon

Interview With Da-Hong Seetoo
Grammy award-winning classical music producer and engineer.
Article By Robert Moon
Da-Hong Seetoo began playing the violin at age two and a half. Seetoo's mother was a pianist and his father was a violinist who taught at the Shanghai Conservatory. He grew up during China's Cultural Revolution (1966 through 1976) and had to practice with the windows closed because Western music was forbidden. His father was able to purchase at great expense a Telefunken reel-to-reel hybrid (tube and transistor) tape deck so he could copy any of the recordings that were circulated underground.
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Painting, Music, And The Language Of Sound Reproduction Creating a connection between the performer and the listener. Article By Jules Coleman

Painting, Music, And The Language Of Sound Reproduction
Creating a connection between the performer and the listener.
Article By Jules Coleman
Thee following is the first of a series of think pieces on audio reproduction. This one focuses on the relationship between the language we employ in discussing and evaluating paintings and how certain terms that are important in the lexicon of the visual arts like 'tonal pallet,' 'resolution' and 'reproduction' can help us better understand what we should seek in a first rate audio playback system.
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Bombardier Global 6500 Business And Luxury Aircraft

Bombardier Global 6500 Business / Luxury Aircraft
Re-imagine business and exotic travel within the smoothest skies.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin
With their campaign of "Dare to compare", Bombardier's Global 6500 aircraft (starting at $56M) enables you to fly for both business and luxury to locations all over the globe. By employing the reliable Rolls-Royce Pearl engine and generous fuel storage, you have an incredible range of 6600 nautical miles! Furthermore, get there fast at Mach 0.90 (690 mph) so you'll never be late to that important appointment. Yet is not just all about distance and speed.
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OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition

OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition
James, James Bond. Shaken, not stirred.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin
Everyone loves a great action movie and James Bond is always up to the task. Bond's newest OMEGA timepiece has arrived with their Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition ($9200). With a full dossier of military-inspired details, this watch is loaded and ready to go! British agent 007's newest timepiece will be featured within the 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die, set to arrive in cinemas April 2020. Order yours now as initial shipments are nearly sold out.
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Rocket R Nine One Espresso Machine

Rocket R Nine One Espresso Machine
Modern tech delivers classic cup of caffeine.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin
Rocket Espresso Milano's R Nine One ($6850) was developed to bring the very best of the company's commercial machine development program into a unit capable of outstanding results. Thermal stability fully saturates the group system is coupled with digital PID temperature control to produce a consistent cup of coffee goodness. Both Pre and Post infusion are controlled through a full pressure profiling system, with your choice of five preset programs or via manual control through the Rocket Espresso paddle system.
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Wine Cellar Innovations Bottle storage solutions at reasonable pricing.

Wine Cellar Innovations
Bottle storage solutions at reasonable pricing.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin
Wine Cellar Innovations founder Jim Deckebach's love of fine wines and foods began in 1974 when he studied in France. He returned to the USA to manage a restaurant while also remodeling homes as a side gig. His first wine cellar project 1984 gave him the idea to produce custom wine cellars. In 1998 Jim Deckebach moved his business from the garage to the current 355,000 sq. ft. facility in Cincinnati. And so began a refrigeration department with test chambers for best wine aging.
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Reviewer In Focus Tom Lyle, Enjoy the Music.com's Senior Editor A deep look into the life of a true music lover.

Tom Lyle, Enjoy the Music.com's Senior Editor
A deep look into the life of a true music lover.
Article By Tom Lyle
To get to the point of my short diatribe, I have to give a bit of background information about myself. Please bear with me. At first it might sound a bit narcissistic, but it will help put my discourse into perspective. For a long time, I considered myself an audiophile. Even before I knew what the term audiophile was. I did know that I was a lover of the equipment that reproduced the music I listened to. But because of the types of music I listened to I always felt as if I was an outsider.
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CH Precision I1 Universal Integrated Amplifier Review

CH Precision I1 Universal Integrated Amplifier
A new paradigm for the integrated amplifier platform.
Review By Greg Weaver
CH Precision was founded by Florian Cossy and Thierry Heeb, two alumni of the highly influential and innovative Swiss high-end audio firm Goldmund. Given the wide-reaching acclaim and the host of industry awards they have garnered since their founding, it is hard to believe this company is just rounding out its first decade! For reasons that will become clearer as you get further into this evaluation, I must preface this examination by noting that my experiences with their early offerings had left me somewhat wanting.
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YG Acoustics Hailey 2.2 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review

YG Acoustics Hailey 2.2 Floorstanding Loudspeaker
The middleweight contender....
Review By Phil Gold
Cards on the table. I've owned the YG Carmel and the YG Carmel 2, each of which I've reviewed in these pages in January 2012 and July 2015 respectively. You can read them here and weep. I'm addicted to the ultra-high resolution, low distortion, lightning reflexes, dynamic range and the holographic imaging of the Carmel speakers.  They are not for everyone. Due to the particular way they are constructed from billets of aircraft grade aluminum, they cost a lot of money, and due to their relatively small size, they don't reach down all that deep. The sealed box design does provide a superbly fast accurate bass, but while the quality is high, the quantity is limited.
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64 Audio Tia Fourte And U18t In-Ear Monitors (IEM) Review

64 Audio Tia Fourte And U18t In-Ear Monitors
Serving an audiophile well in their personal audio journeys.
Review By Smit Patel Of Positive Feedback
With just a decade of experience, 64 Audio have quickly grown to become a tour de force in the world of portable audio. Part of their ascension has stemmed from their firm desire to challenge traditional audio standards with innovations and ground-breaking technologies. The pinnacle of their knowledge has culminated in the Tubeless In-Ear Audio (tia) technology that comprises open balanced armatures within acoustic chambers, and a single bore design to give incredible levels of transparency and resolution.
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StereoPravda SPearphone SB-3.5 In-Ear_Monitors Review

StereoPravda SPearphone SB-3.5
Audiophile in-ear monitors reviewed.
Review By Alan Gary Barker Of Headphone.Guru
The SPearphone SB-3.5 is the latest product of Russian manufacturer StereoPravda, one of the more unique IEM manufacturers I have come in contact with. Their no-compromise, no-holds-barred approach to audio has made them unique in several ways. For one, their IEMs are not jewelry, they are not even pretty, if that is what you are looking for, then look elsewhere. Also, since they are designed to fit deep into your ear canal, along with their almost comically large speaker cables, they are not exactly comfortable, and I, for one, would be hesitant to wear them out jogging.
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Vincent SP-332 Stereo Hybrid Power Amplifier Review

World Premiere Review!
Vincent SP-332 Stereo Hybrid Power Amplifier
Proving amplifier burn-in will deliver delightful results!
Review By Ron Nagle
Almost every month I see Vincent Audio within the Audio Adviser catalog sent to my mailbox. But of course there are other retailers that sell Vincent audio components. Just to name two, you can check out Upscale Audio and of course Amazon too.... Although the SP-332 stereo solid-state amplifier as reviewed here is the latest iteration of the Vincent Hybrid amplifier line, it was in fact preceded by two earlier versions. First was the SP-331, and later the SP-331MK amplifiers.
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AGD The Audion GaNTube Monoblocks Review

AGD "The Audion" GaNTube Monoblocks
Class D reaches the upper echelon of high-end audio.
Review By Rick Becker
Back at the turn of the millennium you could put together a pretty good audio system for $10,000, and you could listen to many of those components in a local brick & mortar store if you lived in a decent size city. Sure there was some stratospherically priced gear in the $10,000 to $20,000 range you might be able to see if you went to one of the audio shows on the left or right coasts. Then along came "quantitative easing" and the internet. Gear got more expensive, the brick & mortar landscape eroded and major as well as regional audio shows proliferated.
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Pro-Ject X2 Vinyl LP Turntable Review

Pro-Ject X2 Vinyl LP Turntable
Easy to set up and very easy to use. You will not be disappointed.
Review By Tom Lyle
As the technology advances, it's only natural for any decent audio manufacturer to take advantage of this new technology. And so, when Pro-Ject was faced with improving upon their Debut and Xpression series of turntables, which are both very successful designs, they decided to, in their words, "improve on the technologies that had already been established". As a result, Pro-Ject introduced their X1 and X2 turntables. The X2, the subject of this review, besides many other improvements, makes the most of higher quality raw materials to use in its production (even though they are more difficult to source).
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Pass Labs INT-25 Stereo Integrated Amplifier Review

Pass Labs INT-25 Stereo Integrated Amplifier
The most musical amplifier I've had the opportunity to listen to.
Review By Review By Neven Kos of hifimedia magazine
It's been a while since I've had an opportunity to listen to some of the Pass amps officially. The last one was, if memory does serve me, an integrated INT-30 amplifier, a review you had the opportunity to read in this magazine (No. 81 / 2010). My experience with Pass Labs amps is not extensive, but it may be relevant. Before that integrated amplifier in my listening room I enjoyed my own amps over the years, such as integrated amplifier INT-150, power amp x150.5, preamplifier X1 and Aleph P.
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Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT And ATH-AWAS Headphones Review

Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT And ATH-AWAS Headphones
Audio-Technica's new wood stereo headphones.
Review By Frank Iacone Of Headphone.Guru
Audio-Technica is known for building quality high-end audio products for both music lovers and audiophiles. The Japanese company takes pride in build quality headphones that offer the best sound possible in musical reproduction. The company has a reputation for building reference headphones with unique and often rare wood that is only available in Japan. Past renditions included the limited edition 65th anniversary Cherry Wood headphones which now have a cult-like following within the personal audio community. The new designs being reviewed continue with the beautiful designs of rare wood being used in both reference models.
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Furutech DSS-4.1 Speaker Cables and DPS-4.1 Power Cable Review

The Neoteric Listener
Furutech DSS-4.1 Speaker Cables And DPS-4.1 Power Cable
Review By Dean Seislove Of Positive Feedback
Cables have it rough. Last in thought, least in budget, forever to be put to work quickly, and then quickly overshadowed by flashier audio gear. When gushing about an audio system, who starts with the cables? Nobody ever, that's who. Such neglect is a crying shame. Cables bear the precious audio signal like a yeoman's cart dispatched by his ladyship. They're the pack mules in the trip down the Grand Canyon; the Pontoon boat floating down the Mekon river. Without cables, your audio system deluxe is just odd-looking furniture. Cables deserve accolades, no matter how much contrary nonsense is spouted off by cynics. I deny the cable deniers!
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Chord Electronics Huei MM / MC Phono Stage Review

Chord Electronics Huei MM / MC Phono Stage
Making music sound like music, which is what makes high-end audio high-end audio.
Review By Tom Lyle
In the past I've had the pleasure of reviewing two other components made by Chord Electronics from East Farleigh, Kent UK. In December of 2014 I reviewed the first version of their Hugo, a battery powered digital to analog converter. During January 2019 I reviewed their Symphonic moving coil phono stage, which in this case is more than noteworthy because the Huei phono stage that is being reviewed here is a smaller version of their excellent Symphonic phono stage.
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ProAc Response D2R Standmounted Speakers Review

ProAc Response D2R Standmounted Speakers
Updating a true classic loudspeaker.
Review By Phil Gold
When I moved to Canada in 1980, I bought Meridian M2 Active Speakers which I had originally heard in Edinburgh while I was attending the festival. They were so outrageously good I kept them for a very long time. Only when I found the ProAc Response 2 did I feel passive speakers had caught up and even overtaken the old M2s. That would be around the early nineties. The Stewart Tyler-designed Response 2 also lived in my system for a long time, finally giving way to a pair of Wilson Benesch Act 1 speakers when I moved into a larger home.
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Synergistic Research Foundation Cables Review

Synergistic Research Foundation Cables
Oracles house themselves within temples of the humble.
Review By Rick Becker
Like with climate change, it's hard to believe there are still cable deniers in this world, but they show up in the forums with a loud voice. You would think the multitude of High End cable manufacturers would be a clue. After all, if high end cables were all snake oil would so many companies exist? Would so many people buy them? And importantly, would brick & mortar stores, who build their reputations and depend on repeat customers, be selling them? At audio shows nobody runs generic power cords or interconnects.
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Magnepan 30.7 Panel Loudspeakers For Condos Review

Magnepan 30.7 Panel Loudspeakers For Condos
On the road at Audio Connections.
Review By Jules Coleman
On Wednesday, December 18 (2019), I joined Herb Reichert of Stereophile and Steve Guttenberg of Audiophiliac Daily, at John Rutan's retail store Audio Connections in Verona, New Jersey to listen to Magnepan's prototype / concept speaker, currently dubbed '30.7 for Condos' (hereafter, FC). Audio Connections was the latest stop in Magnepan's road show orchestrated by Wendell Diller and his spouse, Galina. Whereas pre-production listening sessions are ubiquitous, pre-production road shows are not! This begs the question: Why an elaborate road show in the case of 'for Condos'?
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Guerrilla Tactics For The Audiophile Home

Guerrilla Tactics For The Audiophile Home
From Sound Practices Issue 1, Summer 1992
The first time you find him in the kitchen wearing your frilly apron and baking a newly spray-painted amp chassis in the oven you think it's kind of cute. You keep an open mind despite the fumes and try to sympathize with his need for a hammered metal look finish. Then on a dark night you stub your toes on that same chassis lying in the middle of the living room floor and you think, Not so cute. Might as well face the truth. For every audiophile in the world, there's an afflicted spouse, housemate or friend. And, sooner or later, we all must learn the guerrilla tactics necessary for survival in the audiophile home.
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VALVE Magazine Dinkin' Around: Tech tips and other unsolicited advice.

Dinkin' Around
Got an H.H. Scott LT-110 (the kit version of the 350) in the shop last week that was misbehaving badly, just a buzz would come out. After a couple tubes and an alignment of the RF and IF/limiter stages, mono sounded great, stereo wasn't stereo and had a bunch of growlies. When I got to the 19kHz transformer on the multiplex board, there was no signal coming out, and the slugs seemed to spin freely. Ah hah! I said (actually I said Shit!). Opened up the can and realized I was witnessing the work of the Gods. Apparently a previous alignment had been performed by Hercules.
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Manley Labs Absolute Headphone Amplifier Review

Manley Labs Absolute Headphone Amplifier
The makings of a legend!
Review By Gary Alan Barker Of Headphone.Guru
Back in the late nineteen eighties I ran a small boutique by appointment only high end Hi-Fi shop, and at that time our preamplifier of choice was the Manley (their first and only product at the time if my memory serves correctly), which we considered to be the finest audio product in the world. Not long after that, Manley moved into pro audio which they quickly took by storm and has remained their primary focus ever since.
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Stromtank S2500 Battery Power Supply Review

World Premiere Review!
Stromtank S2500 Battery Power Supply

The joys of a pure sine wave with battery power.
Review By Tom Lyle
I've been stricken with something I like to call an "audiophile illusion of grandeur" for quite some time. It started long ago, when I first discovered that the AC power supplied to my stereo system was less than adequate. This wasn't too difficult to figure out, because in the daytime my system sounded lousy, at least compared to how it sounded at night. This continues to this day. This is because my home shares the power my electric company provides with many customers, including commercial establishments, homes, and more. As a result, the sound of my system suffers.
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GIK 4A Alpha Panel Diffusors Review

GIK 4A Alpha Panel Diffusors
One of the best values to treating any good listening room.
Review By Rick LaFaver
I have always been a staunch advocate of adding room acoustic devices as an integral part of any high quality sound system. That is unless you listen within an anechoic chamber or a padded cell. There are many different ways to handle standing waves whether it is DSP, diffusion, wide spectrum, or narrow spectrum absorption. GIK 4A Alpha Panel Diffusors are a great way to improve your listening room and here's why: Two of the most important elements in creating the foundation of any great listening room are choosing a world class speaker and an acoustic treatment plan that tames any anomalies in your room of choice.
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Pathos Acoustics Classic Remix Integrated Amplifier, Headphone Amplifier And DAC

World Premiere Review
Pathos Acoustics Classic Remix Integrated Amplifier / Headphone Amp w/DAC
Combining the musicality of tubes with the drive of solid-state amplification.
Review By Dr. Panagiotis Karavitis
Yours truly spent a dozen years in Italy studying and tasting some dolce vita in cities like Rome and Florence. He fell in love with the bell paese and everything beautiful coming from that country; most of all the style. Italians have this way of creating that transcends typical "good taste" into something deeper, sophisticated and cool at the same time. Think about Maserati and Alfa Romeo, Armani and Valentino and you get the idea. The same can be said for their high fidelity audio products.
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Falcon LS3/5A Classic Small Two-Way Monitor Reborn

Falcon LS3/5A Classic Small Two-Way Monitor Reborn
Resurrecting the old classic BBC LS3/5A that lives up against the older classics.
Review By Joseph Ki Cheong Ming
It is no secret that Malcolm Jones did most of the design and development of the legendary KEF drive units such as the B139, B200, B110, T15, and T27. He left KEF in 1974 having just completed the famous Reference Series 104 system and thus began work on an active professional monitor plus his new company Falcon Acoustics Ltd. When Falcon announced making LS3/5A, using all-new drivers that were said to 'voice' to the original KEF 15 Ohm drivers (B110-SP1003 and T27-SP1032), a desire was set on fire waiting in anticipation among all LS3/5A enthusiasts! My pair finally came after four gruesome months of waiting. This pair arrived and is the 25th pair of LS3/5A within my collection.
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Bob Ludwig On Digital Audio

Bob Ludwig On Digital Audio
It is hard to make an unmusical sounding LP (ticks and pops aside),
but it is easy to make a rotten-sounding digital recording.
From BAS Volume 18, Number 4    October 1989
It seems that my opinions about recording systems are being misquoted in certain quarters, so I'd like to set the record straight. First, I want you to know that I am a musician. I played first trumpet in a symphony orchestra before I was employed professionally as an engineer. Maybe I speak with forked tongue?! When the CD was invented (and I mastered the first CD ever mass-produced in America, Born in the USA) I stopped buying vinyl records.
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Pass Labs XP-12 Preamplifier And XA30.8 Stereo Amplifier Review

Pass Labs XP-12 Preamplifier And XA30.8 Stereo Amplifier
Impressed by Pass Labs' INT-60 integrated amplifier, Kevin Fiske decides to check out the XP-12 and XA30.8 pre/power combo.
Review By Kevin Fiske
Having much admired the Pass Labs Int-60 integrated amplifier, which combined one-box practicality with a refined Class A performance that made it well worth Audio Excellence status, I subsequently asked the UK distributor if I might try a Pass Labs A30.8 power amplifier. With a stereo output of nominally 30W/ch, it had more than enough grunt on paper to drive my relatively efficient speakers (and quite a few less efficient designs besides). I left it to Pass Labs to suggest an appropriate pre-amp, and was sent the first XP-12 to land in the UK.
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